3 April 2017

Fran Cormack - Expat in Sydney, Australia

Fran Cormack - Expat in Sydney, Australia

We’ve had the chance to talk to Fran Cormack, an English and Australian expat who has moved to Australia alone. Mr. Cormack who has been living there for five years, now works as an IT program manager. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Halifax, West Yorkshire, in England.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: I have always loved Australia and I wanted a change in lifestyle. Warmer :)


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Sydney. Love the city, the beaches, and good work opportunities.


Q: How long have you been living in Australia?

A: This is my 5th year.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Without family. It is hard. My mum struggles. And I miss my sisters and growing army of nieces and nephews.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Not so much. I miss the football more, used to have a season ticket for Man Utd. It was a big part of most of my previous life. I miss the proximity to Europe's best cities.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Most aren't local. So diverse. Culturally fascinating. For the real locals, they only need a few adjustments, primarily realising that a London accent isn't the only English accent. And that football uses a round ball. Not something egg shaped.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Australia? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Mainly expats at the start. Now I have had various jobs, I have a much wider circle of friends.


Q: How does the cost of living in Australia compare to your home?

A: I can't honestly remember. I'll find out in June when I go back.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: $3.50 is fairly standard for a cup of coffee.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $55 for two is reasonable.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Sometimes in excess of $300.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine is about $20. I don't smoke.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Australia?

A: Try and do it before you get here. I opened one in the UK, with an Australian bank, Westpac, and was able to put money in there before I arrived.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Long, trying, and very laborious. I would swear they do it to put people off and only get the dedicated. I was dedicated, despite the length of time it took, the numerous hurdles to jump, and the high costs.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Australia is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Thankfully I have never had to use healthcare of any kind.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the UK or Australia? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: I wouldn't ordinarily take out health insurance, but in Australia, it helps reduce your tax bill. There is even a level of cover offered just for this.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Australia? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I think I chose Atlantis, as they were West Yorkshire based, as I was. The most memorable thing was trying to decide what not to pack. And as this left 12 weeks ahead of me, it was quite a challenge.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: No real challenges really. Just coming and getting a job straight away helped with the whole process. Earning money. Meeting new people. And having money for a social life.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Australia?

A: Positives include the weather. The outdoor lifestyle. The cafe culture. All important to me.

Negatives include being so far from amazing countries in Europe. The prohibitive costs of travelling to places on holiday. The time zone to be able to keep up with watching the English football season.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Get to the beach. Get to all the local, independent cafes. Get for bush walks. Take the ferry to work.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I would like to work and live in Canada's for a while, although the visa situation looks difficult. I would definitely like to live in a Spanish-speaking country and brush up on my language skills. 


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Find what you enjoy doing. Do lots of it.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Australia?

A:  Apart from my own? :-). No, as a "local" now, and a new citizen I don't read blogs about Australia. I read them from other countries I want to visit and experience.